In a huge win for people with severe mental illness and their families, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled a monumental partial repeal of the discriminatory IMD exclusion earlier this month.The Medicaid managed care final rule will finally allow certain state Medicaid programs to provide up to 15 days a month of inpatient services to people with serious mental illness and up to 30 days of inpatient care if those 15 days span two months.
The IMD exclusion has long prevented Medicaid from paying for the inpatient care of adults over 21 and under 65 in mental health treatment facilities with more than 16 beds. In addition to preventing those in need from receiving medically necessary care, the discriminatory restriction helped usher in our national psychiatric bed shortage by facilitating the closure of existing psychiatric inpatient facilities and discouraging the building of new ones.
Partial repeal of the IMD exclusion is a major step. But it is just the beginning – the Treatment Advocacy Center has long called for full repeal of this discriminatory policy. And we won’t stop until that is a reality. More than 8 million people in the United States suffer with severe mental illness, they deserve #aBedInstead.